JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Armor Holdings
(NYSE: AH), a leading manufacturer of security products and vehicle armor
systems serving military, law enforcement, homeland security and commercial
markets, announced today that it has been selected as an exclusive licensee
for a unique application of nanotechnology, currently referred to as shear
thickening fluid (STF), that has the ability to enhance the performance of
ballistic fabrics and protective armor products. Developed by the University
of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials, in partnership with the Weapons
and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory,
testing has indicated that the technology appears to allow conventional
ballistic fabrics to increase the level and quality of protection they provide
without compromising their weight, comfort or flexibility.
Under active development for the past five years, STFs are special
materials with nano-particles that exhibit properties normally associated with
both solids and liquids, but are rarely found in the same material. Sometimes
referred to as "liquid armor," the material is actually a nanotechnology that
exists in a flexible, fluid-like state under normal conditions but adopts
seemingly rigid qualities and becomes less penetrable when impacted. As a
result, this special material can be applied to conventional ballistic fabrics
or other materials used in armor applications, allowing them to remain
flexible under normal wear, but simultaneously becoming resistant to
penetration when impacted by a spike, knife or high velocity projectile or
fragment. STF treated fabrics effectively spread the energy over a larger
Dr. Tony Russell, Chief Technology Officer for Armor Holdings, Inc., said,
"Going back to the Middle Ages, developing armor has involved a constant
balance between the need for protection and the need for comfort, flexibility
and light weight. Rarely do the words 'flexible' and 'armor' get used in the
same sentence, but this new technology has the potential to unlock entirely
new and better solutions that will leapfrog to the next generation of armor
and other lifesaving equipment. The scientists at both ARL and UDTC have done
an outstanding job of creating the core technology and demonstrating its
advantages. We are proud to have been selected to assume development
responsibility for this important technology and we look forward to rapidly
fielding products that will help better protect those who operate in harm's
way. This represents an important new addition to the Armor Holdings
portfolio of core technologies and further allows us to select and apply the
best material for each application."
Extensive testing conducted by UDTC and ARL has demonstrated that when
treated with STFs, a conventional ballistic fabric can resist penetration from
an ice pick that would otherwise easily penetrate the fabric. However,
further testing and applications in the field may be needed to understand
fully the properties of STFs. In addition, fabrics treated with STF have been
shown to reduce "back face deformation" (an indication of blunt trauma) from
high energy ballistic impacts. Importantly, treating the fabric with this
material has little or no effect on the look, feel, texture, weight or
flexibility of the fabric.
Armor Holdings, which will be the sole commercial provider of this
technology in applications related to body armor vests and extremity
protection, helmets and gloves for protective use worldwide, anticipates
fielding the first products later this year.
Professor Norman Wagner of the University of Delaware and Dr. Eric Wetzel
of the Army Research Lab, commented, "This has been an extremely successful
collaboration between ARL and UDTC and we believe this technology has the
potential to yield new and valuable products that will provide better
protection to those who need it. Armor Holdings has a proven ability to take
technologies, such as this, improve upon them and rapidly develop them into
products that can be used in the marketplace. Dozens of dedicated researchers
contributed to this project over the past several years and we look forward to
seeing the results of their work being used to help save and protect lives."
Robert Schiller, President of Armor Holdings, Inc., said, "This is a very
important development for Armor Holdings and underscores our leadership in the
area of developing life safety and survivability systems for members of the
armed forces, law enforcement and correction officers and private citizens.
We are constantly striving to develop new and better ways to protect those who
protect us. In the past two years, we have fully integrated the R&D
capabilities across our various businesses, allowing us to seamlessly adopt
the use of technologies such as STF in a wide range of protective
The potential applications of STF include a wide range of products such as
body armor, vehicle armor, helmets, gloves and bomb blankets to protect
soldiers, law enforcement, corrections and government officials and other
industrial safety applications. Armor Holdings has selected Barrday Inc. as a
partner for development and production of STF-based ballistic fabrics.
Barrday has strong complimentary experience in weaving fabrics from high
strength fibers as well as applying films, resins, finishes and coatings for
both soft and hard armor applications.
Background on Shear Thickening Fluid
Under the direction of Professor Norman Wagner, the University of
Delaware, Center for Composite Materials began investigating shear thickening
fluids in the mid 1990s. Beginning in 2000, UD CCM began working in
partnership with the Army Research Lab's Materials Research, led by Dr. Eric
Wetzel, to create a new armor material. The first promising ballistic results
were achieved in 2002, presented publicly at the U.S. Army Science Conference
in Orlando, FL, in 2002. The U.S. Army recognized the significance of this
new technology by awarding the UD/ARL research team the Siple Award as the
best paper at the 23rd Army Research Conference in December 2002. Work on the
technology continued throughout 2003 and 2004, with important discoveries of
the stab and puncture resistance of the fabric and further refinements in
processing and fabrication. A U.S. patent application was filed in May of
About Armor Holdings, Inc.
Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AH) is a diversified manufacturer of branded
products for the military, law enforcement, and personnel safety markets.
Additional information can be found at http://www.armorholdings.com.
Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking
statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those projected. The Company may use words
such as "anticipates," "believes," "plans," "expects," "intends," "future,"
and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. These risks
and uncertainties are described in the Company's filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Registration Statement on
Form S-3, its 2004 Form 10-K and amendments thereto and most recently filed
Forms 8-K and 10-Q.
SOURCE Armor Holdings, Inc.